Per NBC's Lauren Appelbaum, in the first presidential debate ever broadcast in Spanish, the issues were not solely focused on Hispanic areas -- as candidates also answered questions on troop withdrawal in Iraq, health care, and education, in addition to questions on immigration and relations with Latin America.
The debate was broadcast on Univision, the nation's largest Spanish-language network. Anchors Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas asked candidates questions in Spanish, which were then translated into English. Each candidate spoke in English -- regardless whether the presidential hopeful speaks Spanish, although Dodd and Richardson (both who are fluent in the language) got in a few lines in Spanish before the moderator reprimanded them. All of the answers were simultaneously translated into Spanish for the Univision audience. English closed captioning enabled English viewers to understand the debate.
Some of the reviews… The New York Times: "The three leading candidates, Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, had especially sharp criticism for leaders of the Republican Party. They expressed concerns that Republicans were enabling anti-immigrant feelings and even racist attitudes, or at least not taking a tougher stand against them."
The AP: "In the first presidential debate ever broadcast in Spanish, the protracted war in Iraq competed for attention with the swirling argument over immigration."
The format itself didn't get great reviews. The Miami Herald: "No major gaffes occurred, but the on-air translation of the candidates' answers into Spanish was spotty at times. 'It detracted tremendously from the quality of the debate,' said Eduardo Gamarra, director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean studies at Florida International University. Gamarra, who led a focus group of 19 young Hispanic Democrats who watched the debate, also criticized the candidates for giving vague responses."
By the way, don't forget to check the ratings on this forum. Univision gets big numbers in certain markets (including Miami and L.A.). Don't be surprised if Univision nabs more viewers for this debate than some that have appeared on cable.